Dubai City Information Site

Common Dubai Visas – What Are They & How To Obtain One?

Hi, Sunil here to talk about the common Dubai visas granted to travelers entering the Emirate.

If you are not a national of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), then you definitely need a visa to enter Dubai no matter what your intention is.

If you are going to visit, you must apply for a tourist/visit visa.

If you are stopping by Dubai in transit elsewhere, then you must arrange a transit visa through your sponsor.

And if you are going to Dubai for work, then you must arrange for resident worker visa through your employer.

How to obtain these Dubai visas?

My answer is good through June, 2009.

Though requirements may not change much, you still should check with your local UAE embassy to ensure you are on the right track.

It is hard to predict when immigration laws change in Dubai as they change quite frequently in order to control the foreign population.

What are the visas like?

They are nothing more than stamps on your passport. In some cases you will be issued a permit instead (keep everything on you at all times while in Dubai). These stamps are reviewed upon entering and exiting Dubai and make it easy for the officials to validate the authority.

Below are some details regarding Dubai visas. However, make sure you check with your embassy as these are subject to change. If you are going to Dubai for work, your employer will usually take care of the application and costs associated.

The three most common visas to Dubai

Tourist or Visit Visa

If you plan on staying in Dubai for more than 14 days, you are considered a tourist or a “visitor”. You must provide proof of health insurance when you apply for this kind of visa (certain rules vary by country of origin). The only exception to this rule is a national of countries in the GCC (Gulf) region, who do not need a visa to enter Dubai.

To read more about specific rules pertaining to specific countries (as well as costs), read the Dubai Visa discussion. This discussion also talks about which country’s citizens are allowed to get a Dubai visa upon arrival and which have to arrange it in advance. A new rule went into effect on August 2008 no longer allowing expatriate workers in Dubai to sponsor their family members.

Stopover or Transit Visa

This form of visa is the easiest to obtain as the government understands that the Dubai airport is a central and ideal location for connections. There are also many businessmen who come to Dubai just for a handful of days.

This visa is valid for 96 hours (4 full days) and intended for very short term travel to Dubai. You can arrange this type of visa by contacting your employer or the hotel you will be staying at in Dubai.

Resident / Work Visa

Dubai’s work environment is comprised mostly of foreigners and therefore this is the most common form of visa most expatriates carry. These visas are good for three years at a time and quite easy to renew.

So if you are going to work in Dubai, you need to contact your employer (in many cases they will reach out to you) and arrange for this visa. Normally you will be instructed to take a health exam. The process is usually quite smooth providing you have secured work in Dubai.

When obtaining a resident work visa, you will also be given a labor card. You must carry both documents with you at all times. This is because the government requires you to temporarily hand over your passport to your employer (strict employment rules to ensure you don’t disappear after entering the Emirate). So these documents become your identification papers in the mean time.

Just remember a couple important things. Hang on to these at all times. Also, I recommend that you do not leave the Emirate / country of UAE for the first 6 to 9 months that you are there.

Go from Types of Dubai Visas back to General Visa Discussions

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